NBA Thursday: Mortiz Wagner leads daily fantasy basketball plays
After a Wednesday night that saw some big names go down with injuries, the NBA churns along with six more games on the schedule Thursday. Several teams will be playing shorthanded, including the Grizzlies, who remain without Ja Morant (suspension). Let's examine some players to consider when building your Yahoo lineups, as well as a few to possibly avoid.
Tyrese Haliburton, IND vs. HOU ($40): Haliburton continues to produce monster stat lines down the stretch. He dominated in a loss to the 76ers on Monday, putting up 39 points and 16 assists. Over his last seven games, he has averaged 26.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, 11.6 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.0 blocks. This is a great matchup for him to remain productive, given the Rockets have the second-worst defensive rating in the league.
Cam Thomas, BKN at MIL ($10): The Nets aren't going to have many healthy bodies for this game. They have already ruled out Spencer Dinwiddie (rest), Ben Simmons (knee), Cameron Johnson (knee), Nic Claxton (Achilles) and Royce O'Neale (knee). That should lead to more minutes for Thomas, who had a crazy stretch in February in which he scored at least 43 points in three straight games after the Nets traded away Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Guard to Avoid
Jordan Poole, GS at MEM ($26): The return of Stephen Curry has dealt a significant blow to Poole's production. Over the last two games, he scored 16.7 and 22.1 Yahoo points, respectively. As long as Curry and Klay Thompson are healthy, Poole's usage rate will remain limited.
Julius Randle, NY at SAC ($42): The Kings are a fantasy-friendly opponent because they rank inside the top-10 in the league in pace of play and inside the bottom-10 in defensive rating. That should be music to the ears of Randle, who is averaging a career-high 25.3 points per game. The Kings also don't have much of a defensive presence in the middle, allowing the second-most points in the paint per game in the league.
Dorian Finney-Smith, BKN at MIL ($13): With the Nets being so shorthanded, Thomas isn't the only player on the team to consider in DFS. Finney-Smith has mostly been quiet, scoring 21.4 Yahoo points or fewer in four of the last five games. However, with added shot attempts likely coming his way, he could be worth the risk in tournament play.
Forward to Avoid
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL vs. BKN ($56): Giannis did not play Tuesday against the Magic because of knee soreness and an illness. He is expected to return for this matchup, though, as he is listed as probable. The problem for DFS is, this game has blowout written all over it with the Nets missing so many key players. If the Bucks race out to a big lead early, Giannis could spend added time on the bench in the second half.
Xavier Tillman, MEM vs. GS ($17): Steven Adams (knee) has been ruled out again, leaving Tillman to carry the bulk of the load at center for the Grizzlies. He logged 30 minutes Tuesday against the Lakers, marking the third straight game that he has played at least 30 minutes. He scored 41.0 Yahoo points against the Lakers and at least 26.5 Yahoo points in each of the three aforementioned games.
Moritz Wagner, ORL vs. UTA ($13): Wendell Carter Jr. (hip) sat out both of the last two games for the Magic, pushing Wagner into the starting five. Wagner didn't let his opportunity go to waste, scoring 27.9 and 35.1 Yahoo points, respectively. Carter has already been ruled out for this matchup against a Jazz team that has the seventh-worst defensive rating in the league, so Wagner has an excellent opportunity to provide value at near the minimum salary.
Center to Avoid
Jalen Duren, DET vs. CHA ($18): The Pistons are limping toward the finish line and a record that should leave them with one of the highest selections in the 2023 Draft. Duren (ankle) has missed six straight games, but is listed as probable for this matchup. Before he went down, he had logged 24 minutes or fewer in three straight games. With James Wiseman and Marvin Bagley also healthy, Duren could finish out the season with limited playing time, even if he does continue to start.